The Liturgical Year
The Catechism of the Catholic Church…speaks of the calendar as a long teaching moment. “The cycle of the liturgical year and its great feasts are… basic rhythms of the Christian’s life of prayer” (CCC, n. 2698). The great feasts “commemorate” and “communicate” the mystery of Christ (n. 1171).
The Church marked off not only the days of his life, but of our life today. For Jesus is the… “firstborn of many brethren” (Rom 8:29). Those terms imply that others, many others, are to follow; and so the Church proved this claim by celebrating the feasts of the saints, beginning with the Blessed Virgin Mary, but including the apostles, martyrs and many others.
The year, as it has developed, is, like a microscope or telescope, a finely tuned instrument for keeping its object always in focus, always near; and its object is Jesus Christ.
In the course of the liturgical year, Christians receive repeated exposure to the major events of salvation history. The cycle brings times of fasting and times of feasting, times of sorrow and times of joy, times of penance and times of reconciliation. All creation tells the story. All history tells the story. All our lives, yours and mine, tell the story.
It is a story of hope.
Scott Hahn, Signs of Life (New York: Doubleday, 2009),
Pages 52, 54-55. Used with permission.